BUILDER picks up his fishtail chisel and prepares for the evening ahead. Fingers which once were soft and unsure are now callused and steadfast. With light steps, BUILDER walks down the dark basement hall which leads into his sanctuary. This room, a 300-year-old woodworking shop, holds centuries worth of family memories from artists passed. There is no need for light just yet, he knows exactly where to sit and where to place his hands. After a few moments of focused stillness, now a matter of instinct, BUILDER leans over and reaches for the light. He turns it on at half strength, which makes for an easier transition for his blue-gray eyes. The dimmer was worth the extra month of lighting work.
The smell of freshly cut sandalwood is everywhere. Bringing the branch right under his nose, BUILDER breathes in deep and slow. The aroma of sandalwood, more so than any other type of tree, brings him home. BUILDER’s father taught him the craft beginning with sandalwood. For years, father and son would work side-by-side in the shop, usually in silence except for the occasional brief exchange.
Now a wise man, BUILDER allows himself to get lost in his work and several hours pass quickly. Time ceases when BUILDER is left to sand, carve and polish. BUILDER is hunched over in unwavering concentration yet there is a easeful flow to his process. To his close circle of friends, this is nothing but a hobby. BUILDER knows better than to use such a flippant term to describe the art that he has the privilege to create. The finish of oak versus cherry, the sturdiness of cedar versus birch, every aspect of the design enters his mind as he feels an immense responsibility to fully capture the beauty of the tree in its new form.
With utmost patience and care, BUILDER puts the final touch on his latest piece, a wooden rattle for his newborn son.
The inscription reads: “Go and live your greatest dreams. Love, Papa"